On Thursday, May 4 residents in Peterborough and the rest of Cambridgeshire will vote for a new mayor. The mayor will have a devolved transport budget, so the Peterborough Telegraph asked all seven candidates to set out in up to 300 words what their policies would be if elected.
Paul Bullen, UKIP
As a UKIP politician I am not under a party whip like the old parties’ politicians are. UKIP politicians are truly independent and are free to represent the people that they serve, not the party that they belong to. I will offer the people of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough what they deserve, more power for local people and local communities and more say over what happens in their street, village, town and city. I’ll offer an alternative of direct democracy and empower our residents to influence everything that I do by putting democracy back into local government. I am well aware that partnership working is the only way to get things done and I will work closely with everyone involved in transport and infrastructure in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. However, improving road maintenance will be my priority and mending potholes is more important than council vanity schemes. Initially, my priority will be repairing and improving what we already have, not wasting public money on grandiose schemes that will not work.
I will upgrade public transport, especially maintaining and reinstating rural bus routes that many communities depend on, and which feed town centre businesses and markets. I will increase the provision of free parking to regenerate town centres and boost business, and I will oppose any introduction of tolling on roads and motorways as our motorists are already taxed too much. Notwithstanding the above, I will fight to reduce local government and bureaucracy whenever possible and endeavour to bring all of the existing Transport Authorities together into just one committed organisation.
Rod Cantrill, Liberal Democrat
As I travel around the region and listen to people they tell me that they are concerned about the level of congestion and about poor public transport, especially in Peterborough and the surrounding area where one in five households do not have a car.
When it comes to transport the Conservatives have failed residents by not investing in a good transport network involving rail and buses.
Liberal Democrats have fought for two extra train stations in Cambridge for over the last 20 years while the Conservatives’ defeatist, unambitious vision for Peterborough has resulted in Network Rail not prioritising a southern Peterborough station which they say would be possible with proper funding.
Residents of Peterborough are telling me that as the city grows they want good, reliable and cheap public transport.
I will be the mayor for everyone across the region, delivering sustainable communities based on making sure people are connected and don’t feel isolated.
As mayor, I will set out an integrated transport strategy for the region, focused on rail, bus and cycling, enhancing connectivity and improving air quality.
I will exploit electric vehicles, smarter ticketing and traffic management. I will also repair the region’s roads and where right enhance the road network.
I will ensure that transport infrastructure is built in new communities before people move in.
This includes investing in a southern Peterborough railway station serving communities including Hampton, Stanground and Old Fletton.
As mayor, I will deliver a strong public bus network for Peterborough, embracing bus franchising powers, providing cheaper fares and guaranteeing that students and the elderly are better connected.
Together, I believe we can change the way politics are done in this region and deliver a transport system that works for the people of Peterborough.
Peter Dawe, independent
A vision for Cambridgeshire transportation. We want to travel quickly, cheaply, safely and in comfort. This can be achieved quickly and economically.
Using a 21st Century transport system, not solely relying on 19th Century systems such as trains, buses, cars and cycles will work.
My vision is to:
. Have fast corridors between major urban centres. Using trains, where they already exist and luxury coaches where we need to use roads
. Shuttle mini-buses picking you up at your door and feeding these services
. Electric autonomous urban vehicles that pick you up at your door and drop you off at your destination. Suitable for all travellers from child to disabled.
These technologies are here, we just need the will to deploy them.
We ARE in the 21st century, we SHOULD be travelling in the style of the film “Minority Report” not “Around the world in 80 Days!”
Stephen Goldspink, English Democrat
I have a particular interest in improving transport infrastructure and believe that bringing this into the mayor’s sphere allows opportunities to fully integrate transport plans and rub out the local authority boundaries that have so often led to poor decisions. In particular I would seek the views of residents about the problems that they see and their ideas to solve them. I am in favour of the motor car as the pre-eminent means of transport in our largely rural county and will resist attempts to demonise the motor car and motorists. All plans will need to pass a test of resident demand, full environmental assessment impact and rigorous cost control. I believe that we need to focus on scores of small improvement schemes to rail services and infrastructure, buses and bus routes, road junctions and cycle routes that benefit many residents every single day, and not spend millions on grandiose schemes that are delivered late, run over budget and fail to meet their objectives. For example, in the evening peak, no trains leaving Peterborough stop at Whittlesey between 17.50 and 19.50, though many run through; this is absurd if we want to encourage people based in the Whittlesey area to commute by train and relieve the overburdened A605. The Stanground bypass became a bottleneck the day it was opened due to the ludicrous decision not to run the Pondersbridge road into the bypass roundabout – perhaps Peterborough Council didn’t care about those residents struggling to get to and from Fenland? You will know of your own local bottlenecks and easy fixes – provide an extra lane, resurface a cycleway, divert a bus to make it convenient. I want to fix these and make an instant improvement in transport infrastructure – in some cases little or no money is needed.
James Palmer, Conservative
The mayor needs to commit to a solution to the traffic problems across the whole of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough – not simply focus on ‘areas’. It requires a solution that will spread the ‘Cambridge effect’ across the entire region.
The debilitating congestion in and around Cambridge MUST be addressed and I believe the only practical answer is an underground and light railway. Cambridge, with its medieval centre, is a fast-growing seat of business and learning. Buses and trams are an impractical answer to its problems. Only an underground will transport people safely and quickly across the city and beyond.
The poor train service across Cambridgeshire must be addressed. Travelling to London from Peterborough, Cambridge, Ely, St Neots and Huntingdon is fine; but the local service between our towns and cities is woeful. Investment in the Ely North junction will allow more frequent and larger trains to travel across Cambridgeshire. I am fully committed to Wisbech Rail, improvements to Whittlesey Station and to a new station in Soham. Linking our towns and cities with an effective and frequent train service will attract new business and allow in-situ businesses to expand providing additional and higher paid jobs across the county. It also means people can work where they want but live where they can afford because their commute is quick and simple. The road network in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is unfit for purpose. Planned improvements to the A14 and A428 are a start, but the appalling A10 MUST be upgraded between Cambridge and Littleport. The A47 needs more investment - it is the only road link between Peterborough and Norwich and its status should reflect this. I will also look at an M11 extension through Fenland and up to Peterborough, linking our two major cities and the food production heart of England.
Julie Howell, Green Party
The establishment of the Combined Authority is an opportunity to create a sustainable and accessible transport system, one by which we can get around more quickly, cheaply, pleasantly and conveniently by using safe 24/7 public transport and active travel than we can by car.
This will also make roads work better for those people and businesses who will always need to drive.
Transport policy objectives should be to reduce private car traffic and fossil fuel consumption, through provision of a wider range of attractive and affordable public transport options, encouraging active travel such as walking and cycling, and reducing the need to travel where possible.
A range of transport options needs to be available and accessible for all, including disabled and older people.
I believe that achieving these objectives in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is both vital and possible.
I would introduce a Workforce Parking Levy in our cities, with the proceeds earmarked for public transport provision. I would improve transport provision while ensuring that areas of high agricultural, wildlife or landscape value are not sacrificed for unsustainable transport schemes.
I would prioritise investment in public transport to make it quicker, affordable and more convenient and work to bring the cost of public transport down so it is more accessible for people on low incomes.
Our roads would be made safer through lowering speed limits in residential areas, protecting cycle-ways and introducing traffic calming measures where there is a need to make travelling safer. I would seek to improve air quality and reduce pollution to make our communities healthier.
I would prioritise clean and active modes of transport such as cycling and walking, where possible, to promote good health.
Kevin Price, Labour
The role of the mayor is critical in delivering on the transport and infrastructure we need to tackle poverty and inequality across the area and ensure our economy delivers not just for the UK but also for every resident in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. To do this we need an area-wide strategic plan for the next 30 years covering transport and housing, which includes a jobs strategy for the north and east of the devolution area, and is matched with an education and skills plan to give our young people the chance to take advantage of new employment opportunities.
As mayor, I will use the powers in the Bus Services Bill to manage our local bus services with London style bus franchising, an integrated smart ticketing system and set clear emission standards for bus operators to tackle air quality.
Lower fares and more frequent bus services will make a major difference in urban areas like Cambridge, Peterborough and our market towns as well as our often isolated rural areas and will help those who are low paid, jobseekers, young, disabled or elderly.
Rail links are vital for both passenger and freight services.
I will work with Network Rail for new or reopened stations like Addenbrookes, Fulbourn, Sawston, Soham and Wisbech as well as East West Rail strategic links with central, southern and western England, and I will look at radical solutions for the region such as light rail.
We need to increase capacity on key roads such as the A47 to Peterborough and Norfolk, and the A10, to support new housing and employment growth and we need to offer residents a real choice in how they travel by investing in high quality cycling links within and around our urban areas and connecting our villages and market towns.